Have you ever heard of Dr Google? I think most of us have. We go to the local doctor not feeling well and if the doctor tells us we have some illness (other than the common cold) that we have never heard of before, we go home and ask Dr Google for further information. Sometimes, when it is more serious, we might search the internet for hours to read about further explanations and possible cures or even alternative therapies and cures.
Of course, it is not wrong to seek further advice when you have been diagnosed with an illness and Dr Google is fairly reliable, but perhaps not always as reliable as we would like to claim. Nor is ignorance a virtue when it comes to our health. All three gospels record Jesus implying that the unhealthy should go and see a doctor (Mat 9:12; Mk 2:17; Lk 5:31). Indeed, Luke was regarded as a doctor (Col 4:14). So, if you are unwell, go and see a doctor for they are a gift from the Lord.
Having said the above, have you ever thought that your illness may also be a gift from the Lord? When God permits illness, whether it be a cold or something more serious, He does so with a purpose. When we think about illness in this way, it helps us come to grips with it and to seek God’s purpose for it in our lives. When Job was struck down with boils (Job 2:7), he accepts it as coming from the Lord (2:10).
This doesn’t mean we have to rejoice because we have been struck down with an illness, but it does mean that the illness is part of God’s plan for our lives and ultimately His glory and for our sanctification unto eternal life. The more time we spend researching on Dr Google and elsewhere about our illness and possible cures may even indicate a lack of trust in God’s purposes for us through the illness. Furthermore, the hours we spend with Dr Google takes away spending time with the Great Physician who can ultimately bring healing.
Most Christians who are ill usually tell me they spend more time to reflect on God and his goodness to them when they are unwell. That is part of God’s design for nothing happens by chance. Illness is also designed by our Creator to draw us closer to Christ.
The Prophet Hosea calls on God’s people to press on and know the Lord (Hos 6:3). Daniel remarks that the people who know God shall stand firm and take action (Dan 11:32). The Apostle Paul had some sort of illness to deal with throughout his ministry. He called it a ‘thorn’ in his flesh (2 Cor 12:7). Paul knew the purpose of that thorn in his flesh, namely, to keep him humble and to realise that God’s grace was sufficient, and His power was made perfect in weakness (2 Cor 12: 9-10).
By all means, ask Dr Google when you are ill. However, please don’t neglect the more important time of reading God’s word and prayerfully asking him to reveal His grand purposes for your life so that you can be a blessing to others, and He might be glorified, also when you are ill. JZ.